One woman tells it all: How I chose life after being raped
Activism

One woman tells it all: How I chose life after being raped

Planned Parenthood, woman

I have always been pro-life, though my story does not begin with me, but with my father and my paternal grandmother. About 58 years ago my grandmother and grandfather were on their way to elope when an argument ensued. My grandfather threw the wedding ring out the window and instead of getting married that day, they conceived my father.

My grandfather was very abusive towards my grandmother and during their relationship, he committed domestic violence against her on numerous occasions. When she shared with him that she was pregnant with my father, he was furious and denied that the baby was even his. During that time period, my grandfather was known for being a well-to-do Italian businessman, while my grandmother was a poor young German girl. They came from opposite sides, and his family, especially his mother, strongly advised an abortion.

photo from witlee.

Witlee Ethan.

One day my grandfather put my grandmother in his car and drove her against her will to an abortion clinic, while he held his arm outstretched across her chest and upper torso to prevent her from escaping. But she fought against his force and tried to push him away. She wanted to keep her baby – my dad – and raise him, despite not having the financial means to do so. She realized her baby’s safety was at risk and continued to try to break free from my grandfather’s grasp, opening the door to jump out of the car moving at 45 mph. She was willing to risk her own life to save her child’s. Thanks to her bravery, my grandfather pulled her back into the car, shut the door, and drove her home. Her fighting spirit saved my dad from certain death that day. By God’s grace, she did not lose the baby due to any risks she took that day in an attempt to save his life. In the spring of 1959, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Because of being raised to know that abortion comes down to an issue between life and death, the murder of children through abortion has always weighed heavily on me. The risks my grandmother took to save and have my dad, along with the choice my parents made to see OBGYN’s who were also abortionists for all of their pregnancies as a way to reach out and evangelize to them, spoke volumes to me and defined a pro-life view within me from a very young age.

I always knew I wanted to advocate for the voiceless and defenseless preborn but never knew how to get involved in that type of advocacy. One day I was passing a building I had always gone by on my way to and from work. The sign read “Family Reproductive Health” but deep down I felt it was far more sinister than the help it seemed to imply. By fate, one day I was stopped in front of that building due to a train crossing. I asked the woman holding an “I Regret My Abortion” sign if it was indeed an abortion facility and she confirmed it was. I later told my mom of meeting this woman and how I had desired for a long time to get involved in ending abortion. A few weeks later my mom would hear a woman at church give her testimony of being post-abortive. That woman would attend the same women’s retreat as my mom and I. When my mom pointed her out to me, I realized she was the same woman I had talked to on the side of the road holding that sign.

After meeting and talking with this post-abortive woman about her stand against abortion, I became involved with the 40 Days for Life campaign. I participated in the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 campaigns and went on to co-lead the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 campaigns with her by my side. During one of these campaigns, I even traveled out of state and stood outside the hospital where I was born with other pro-life prayer warriors. Through these campaigns, I was introduced to Flip Benham of Operation Save America, who is the person whom God used to bring the Gospel to Norma McCorvey – “Jane Roe” of Roe v Wade. He baptized her and became very instrumental in my own baptism. He baptized me in a plastic baby pool, in front of an abortion clinic during Easter weekend 2009. The first known baptism in front of an abortion clinic – from what he knew. I gave my testimony as well as my dad, sharing how he was “a failed abortion attempt” – which is what his story had come to be known as within the pro-life community.

My dad’s story for me shows how abortion impacts future generations. If my grandmother had not risked her life by trying to jump out of a moving car and had she not fought so hard to save my dad. Or if my dad had been aborted or even miscarried from her trying to jump out of the car, future generations including myself, my siblings, our future children, and grandchildren would cease to exist. Life is a precious gift! Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I even formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew all about you. Before you drew your first breath, I had already chosen you to be My prophet to speak My word to the nations.”

Every life has a specific purpose, which only that life can fulfill for the glory of God, our Creator. So I was well aware of how precious life is and had always felt that even in cases of rape that every life deserves a chance regardless of the circumstances in which that life was conceived. I just had no idea how personally I would be impacted by abortion or that I would be faced with the choice of life or death under the gravest, unthinkable circumstances!

As a little girl, I had always dreamed of prince charming, castles, and fairy tale endings. But what took place exactly one week before my birthday in September 2009 was nothing of childhood dreams but instead made of nightmares, evilness, pain, and utter disbelief! When I was violently raped by my fiancé, my dreams were dashed! My world came crashing down and that violent act shattered my very core! As I look back now, I realize I was in complete denial and couldn’t process what had happened. Unfortunately, the aftermath of something like rape takes on a life of its on and stays with the victim long after the act of rape is committed.

 

Most ask me, “How could a fiancé be guilty of rape?” What I feel most people fail to understand is that “No” means “No” regardless of whether there is an intimate relationship established. Even though we were engaged does not mean we were having sex. In fact, we weren’t! We had decided as followers of Jesus Christ that we would wait until we got married to have sex. My fiancé had even said, “It will be difficult to wait, but it will be worth the wait!” I had no idea that the man who vowed to always protect me was capable of hurting me in such a violating way! How could the man who planned a future with me, who prayed with me every night for our future children, who read, and quoted scriptures to me be the same man who could cause me such harm?

It was through this situation that I had a true understanding of the meaning behind the phrase “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Not only had my body been violated, but my heart had been betrayed. While visiting him out of state with no family around, I called my sister and asked her what to do as I was in pain. She suggested I go to urgent care, though I was still very much in denial with all that had just happened. His actions for the first time were the opposite of his words. It was a lot to process.

After I relayed every harrowing detail of the traumatic event to the Urgent Care Doctor, he sat on his spinning chair in front of me and told me by law he had to report it to authorities. He gave me the choice to make the call to the police and turn in my own fiancé for rape or else he would. All I could do was cry; I couldn’t believe this was happening. The doctor said he would make the call and would come back once the police arrived. Meanwhile, my family and friends were hundreds of miles away. I sat by myself in the urgent care room wondering how my happily ever after turned so dark and violent. This was not at all how I expected to spend that weekend — first in urgent care with a doctor turning my fiancé in for rape and then arriving at the hospital to have the rape kit performed as the police searched for my now ex-fiancé. It was a woman’s worse nightmare. I went from being blissfully in love to feeling like the most unloved and alone woman in the world.

Most are unaware of the logistics of what a rape kit involves. Yet, it is even more horrifying to have it performed when you are already scared and facing so many unknowns. I found myself lying down in that hospital room as the sexual assault response team nurse performed the rape kit on me, all while a SART nurse-in-training looked on. How did I get here? I was terrified and an emotional wreck. I couldn’t help but sob and feel so utterly alone, as my future now looked so bleak.

I’ve been pro-life all my life, but as the painful rape kit was performed on me, the only thought that went through my mind was that I finally understood why some rape victims would decide to have an abortion. And that thought broke my heart because of the strong pro-life beliefs I have always stood for. Yet there was no way I wanted to be pregnant with the child of my rapist. Just then the SART nurse asked me the question, “Do you think you could be pregnant?” It made me want to crawl out of my skin and scream. The SART nurse discussed with me the timing of everything, and she determined that I was probably pregnant and told me she was going to give me the Morning After Pill to take. In fact, while the rape kit is being performed, not only are Morning After Pills given to victims of rape but also emergency antibiotics to combat every type of STD, including AIDS, just in case the victim has been exposed. All the pills were being administered together in a little plastic pill cup. There was no way for me to know which pill was what. As I lay there crying, I pleaded with God to let me somehow die or escape this nightmare. The SART nurse said she was going to take another preventative pregnancy measure by scraping me of any possible traces of pregnancy. Though she still continued to remind me of the Morning After Pill and strongly advised that I take it stating, “Who would want a baby out of rape?”

I was shocked and saddened by her comment. This is already such a confusing and traumatic time for a victim of rape. I felt very much like the SART nurse was trying to manipulate me into doing what she wanted me to do, not what was in the best interest for a potential pregnancy or for me. Through the tears and pain, my heart grew heavy knowing that a life is still a precious gift created by and from God. A gift I have no right to take, regardless of the trauma I was now experiencing. No preborn child deserves capital punishment for the sins of his or her father. So I knew as I sobbed while they took the most graphic pictures of my injuries, that regardless of the future, I would choose life.

That night in the direst of circumstances, I not only declined the Morning After Pill, but I also refused to take any of the STD emergency antibiotics, not sure which ones the SART nurse would give me if I took any. So I took the risks with my health and trusted God. I also physically took a stance and twisted my legs to prevent her from even trying to scrape me. I would walk out of that hospital and drive home through the night not knowing what the future held, but I knew who held my future, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now most are unaware that the purpose of the pill is to terminate a pregnancy to ultimately destroy the life of another human being. There are three ways the Morning After Pill operates: 1) If you have not yet ovulated, it prevents ovulation. 2) If you have ovulated, but have not yet conceived, it prevents conception. 3) If you have conceived a child, it prevents the unborn child from implanting in the uterine wall by creating a hostile environment, thereby killing that unborn child because you’ve cut off his or her ability to receive the nutrients he or she needs to continue developing. The SART team will tell you that the pill won’t terminate a pregnancy. But the SART team would be deceiving you because the Morning After Pill can terminate a pregnancy.

The next few weeks would physically be painful and anxiety-ridden as I waited to be able to take a pregnancy test that would either show one line or two. I would not only take a couple of pregnancy tests but would also have a doctor confirm, to my surprise, that I was not pregnant. Also after about six long months of waiting to get tested to see if I had been exposed to any type of STD, I received the results that I had not been, by God’s grace.

As I look back over my life and see all the pro-life choices that were made by my grandmother, my mother, and my father, I realize I was born pro-life, and those values and beliefs are deeply woven within the very core of who I am. The numerous pro-life decisions that had been made, that brought me life, have made me into the woman I am today. As I reflect on that low valley I walked through in 2009, I am able to say that, regardless of what the pregnancy tests revealed weeks after my rape, I did choose life under the most unthinkable and traumatic circumstances while facing a world of unknowns. It’s a choice I would make again. Since my rape, I have forgiven my rapist. I have spoken about my rape, domestic violence, and choosing life. I have found hope and healing through God. Today I am an advocate for the preborn and for victims of domestic violence.

Editor’s Note: This story was shared with Live Action News by Witlee Ethan.

Editor’s Note: If you are making a decision about abortion, see Clinic Quotes10 Reasons Not to Have an Abortion, Abortion Procedures, and What to Do if Your Boyfriend (or Anyone) is Pressuring You to Have an Abortion. You can also check out Stand Up Girl and Option Line or Pregnancy Line to find local resources, help, and trained people to talk to in your area. If you’ve begun an abortion and are regretting your decision, the 24-hour, nurse-staffed hotline at Abortion Pill Reversal may be able to give you information on reversing your abortion. Men involved in a pregnancy situation can check out Abortion and Men and Abortion Exploits Women.

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